How to Potty Train a Yorkie Puppy

How to Potty Train a Yorkie Puppy

Training a tiny dog offers its perks, like tinier accidents to clean up.

However, the process and the length of training a small breed pup like a Yorkshire Terrier or a large breed is largely the same.

No matter how you attempt potty training, there are a few things you can do to make it easier on you and your pup.

The first step is to start with a game plan, which is what we are going to help with today.

Potty Training Things to Have

Potty Training Things to Have
Images from Unsplash

Here is a quick checklist of some items to prepare. Keep in mind that you won’t need to have all of the following things at-the-ready, because it all depends on what type of potty training you plan to do. Most Yorkie owners and trainers find the below products to be very useful.

Puppy Pads and Holder

Puppy pad training is for those who plan on slowly graduating outdoors, which can be a more difficult way to potty break your Yorkie puppies, or those who will potty train their Yorkies to have the free dome to eliminate indoors as well.

Pee pads come in rectangles and in different sizes according to dog breed sizes. Since we’re talking about Yorkie potty training today, you will most likely need the smallest kind. The holder should fit most sizes and it’s a very handy extra tool to get to keep your pee pads in place to keep your dog from playing with it.

The pee pad holder also prevents your dog from tracking wet footprints all over the house because it has a grate on top of it, keeping your dog’s paws off of the pad.

Puppy Wipes

These puppy wet wipes are needed for indoor and outdoor house training. Cleanups will happen no matter what. Dog owners should not expect a completely accident-free training period and having doggy wet wipes handy will make cleanup easier. This is especially true when you’re out on a walk and can’t wash your hands immediately.

Puppy Waste Bags

Just as important as puppy wet wipes are the puppy waste bags. These little bags are what clean up your Yorkie puppy’s poop when you’re out on walks and even at home. We would recommend getting the biodegradable types because your dog will need his fair share of these during his lifetime and it would decrease your carbon footprint by a lot.

Leash and Harness

A leash and harness are necessary preparations for any dog owner. Some trainers may recommend a collar, but we would recommend a harness once your Yorkie puppy gets older. Collars aren’t the best for rambunctious dogs that like to pull because they will end up choking.

The harness is a safer option as it distributes the force across your Yorkie puppy’s chest. However, for small dogs like the Yorkie, collars can be fine.

A leash and harness are necessities for walks outside and for potty training in the yard. It’s not a good idea to let your puppy run free, even if it’s on your own property until the dog is properly trained and has excellent recall.


Treats are perhaps just as important as any other one of the potty training accessories on the list, despite it seeming to be an extravagant addition. This is because positive reinforcement is proven to be more effective compared to punishment.

We never recommend using a form of punishment such as rubbing your dog’s face in his waste or locking him in his crate.

It may take some time to find out what your Yorkie puppy likes to eat and what flavors he prefers. Although, we will say that most dogs love treats no matter what you give them. We would recommend smaller bits rather than large pieces so the treats won’t account for too much of your dog’s daily caloric intake.

Enzyme Cleaner

As we said, accidents do happen. The key is preventing them from happening over and over again. The miracle saver is an enzyme cleaner. This type of cleaner is much more heavy-duty than regular cleaners and breaks down the mess on a molecular level. It will eradicate any obvious traces of the stains and prevent your dog from going back and making the same mistake.

Dogs are attracted to the scent of urine and feces and will usually eliminate where they themselves or other dogs have gone. Breaking down the spot and making sure to leave no traces will prevent this.

Are Yorkies Easy to Potty Train?

are yorkies easy to potty train
Image by TodoEPosible from Pixabay

Yorkie puppies have a lot of personalities, but we won’t say they are any easier or more difficult to train than other dog breeds. They can be more stubborn, so potty training can take longer in that sense, but you can typically train a Yorkie to eliminate in the right potty area within a few weeks to a few months at most.

The only thing that could make Yorkie puppy potty training a bit more difficult is a smaller bladder. Toy to small breed dogs may have more frequent accidents because of their smaller bladders, but it doesn’t mean they take longer to house train.

How easy it is to train a dog has to do with the personality but also with the trainer’s consistency, patience, and effort. If you are constantly switching up your potty training routine and getting your dog to learn a whole bunch of tricks at once, then Yorkie potty training will take longer than necessary.

Follow our tips and as long as you are vigilant, it will happen sooner than later.

How Long Does it to Potty Train a Yorkshire Terrier Puppy?

How Long Does it to Potty Train a Yorkshire Terrier Puppy?
Image by brownieM from Pixabay

As we said, Yorkie potty training can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months, with the average being around 2 months. Some dogs are very smart and quick to catch on and understand the concept of potty training within a week, but that doesn’t mean accidents won’t happen. To become completely potty trained, you are looking at 2 or so months.

Also, for those who are not able to dedicate a lot of time to potty training, such as people who have full-time jobs, it can take longer. To help speed the potty training process along, we would recommend hiring dog walkers, dog sitters, or enlisting the help of trusted family members. Be sure that everyone involved in taking care of your Yorkie puppy uses the same methods to not confuse it.

You can ask the breeder to give you a head start on potty training by familiarizing your Yorkie puppy with pee pads. Of course, this is not very possible for those who rescue from the shelter.

When Can I Start Potty Training My Yorkie?

When Can I Start Potty Training My Yorkie?
Image by TodoEPosible from Pixabay

You can start potty training Yorkies as soon as you welcome them home, which is around 2 months old. At that time, your Yorkie should still have trouble controlling its bladder and bowel muscles, which creates more accidents.

However, it’s never too early to start ingraining the concept of going potty in a designated potty spot early on despite the chances of accidents.

At 3 months old, your Yorkie should start to get the hang of things and accidents should decrease. He should also be able to head to the potty spot on his own at times – but it won’t be perfect yet.

Some dog owners report potty training regression happens around 4 to 6 months, where your puppy seems to forget where to go. If this happens to your Yorkie puppy, all he needs is a gentle reminder to get back into the routine.

Eventually, at 6 to 7 months, you should have a fully potty trained pup on your hands. Don’t despair if it takes your dog just a bit longer, but rest assured that when it becomes an adult dog, potty training will be a thing of the past.

How Long Can My Yorkshire Terrier Puppy Hold It?

In general, puppies can hold it for their age plus 1, but some sources say the smaller dogs hold it for however many months they are. For example, your 4-month old Yorkie puppy may only be able to hold it for 4 hours.

Of course, this is just a generalization and some dogs may need to go sooner than that while others can last longer.

We do not recommend pushing your dog to the brink to figure this out. If you can, give your Yorkie puppy more leeway and let him go to the bathroom around 10 to 15 min after eating and drinking, before bed, right when he wakes up, and take potty breaks during playtime as well.

What is the Best Way to Potty Train a Yorkshire Terrier Pup?

What is the Best Way to Potty Train a Yorkshire Terrier Pup?
Photo by Crystal Huff on Unsplash

As we mentioned, there are different ways to potty train a Yorkie. Let’s take a deeper dive into the various training methods.

Indoor VS Outdoor Yorkie Potty Training

Dog owners must first ask themselves if they want indoor or outdoor potty training. Outdoor training means your dog is only allowed to eliminate outdoors while indoor training means you either start indoor training and graduate outdoors by eliminating the puppy pads from the equation, or you allow your Yorkie to go inside and outside of the house.

We personally favor indoor and outdoor training as it suits our lifestyle the best. If your geographical area is often scorching hot in the summers and deary, wet, and snowy in the winters, we would suggest giving yourself and your dog a break by adopting this method.

It’s also a useful way if you spend long hours at work and plan to leave your Yorkie at home. It will give him the freedom to go on the puppy pads if necessary.

Indoor Yorkie potty training is almost a necessity for those who live in apartments, although you could use the balcony for those who have one.

Those who choose outdoor Yorkie potty training are usually dog owners who have constant access to the outdoors for doggy potty breaks, have the time to take their dog on walks or have the layout to give them access to the yard. Yorkie potty training outdoors is also preferred for people who want to keep their homes clean, and odor and puppy-pad-free.

For Yorkies and other small and toy breeds that are more susceptible to the cold, we would suggest potty training indoors and out.

The method you choose ultimately depends on your preference and lifestyle. There is no “best way”, so do what works for you and your dog.

How to Potty Train a Yorkie Puppy Outdoors

How to Potty Train a Yorkie Puppy Outdoors
Photo by Crystal Huff on Unsplash

For those who have chosen to potty train a Yorkie outdoors, we have a few Yorkie potty training tips to get you started and make things easier.

Have a Designated Potty Spot

Your first step is to pick out a potty spot. Put some thought into this part, because it will be a permanent area. It’s not a good idea to switch it up because it will only confuse your puppy. We would suggest picking a spot that is on the grass and away from the footpath. Don’t pick somewhere concealed and out of the way thinking that your Yorkie will enjoy the privacy.

Trust us, your Yorkie won’t mind being spotted while doing the deed. What he will care about is having to trudge through tall grass or mud to get to his potty spot in poor weather conditions. Your Yorkie won’t be fond of getting wet and cold, so pick a spot that has easy access. Remember that this is a permanent spot so choose a good one!

Adopt Crate Training

The next step is to confine your pet’s roaming freedom to a specific area in the house until he is fully house trained. You can do this by using a doggy pen to cordon off an area, a baby gate to seal off a room, tethering your dog to you via a leash and harness, or try the most popular method – crate training.

Know When to Take Potty Breaks

As we said, there are times that are crucial during Yorkie potty training to usher your fur baby out of the house to take a potty break. We’ll remind you again with a quick checklist

  • Right when they wake up
  • Around 15 minutes after eating and drinking
  • After a nap
  • After or during playtime
  • Before bed

It takes some train and error during this part of Yorkie potty training to figure out how long it takes before your pup has to go after eating and sleeping, but you’ll get the hang of it.

We would also suggest keeping everything you need on-hand in an easily accessible area when you house train your Yorkie puppy outdoors. Keep the leash, harness, a small bag of treats, and maybe puppy wipes and bags close to the door. This way, you can grab everything and be on your way with your fur baby without giving him a chance to have an accident.

Have a Verbal Cue

At the beginning of Yorkie potty training, there is a big chance that your dog will have no idea what you want him to do when you take him to the potty spot. One way you can quickly communicate what it is you want is by taking a soiled pee pad or tissue paper and letting him sniff it or rubbing the contents all over the potty area.

The odor will cue your dog to eliminate, but it could take a few minutes so be patient!

You can combine the above trick with a verbal cue, such as “pee pee” or “poo poo”. After everyday repetition, your dog will begin to associate your verbal command with eliminating and will understand exactly what you want when you say it.

In the future, it will be as simple as uttering the code word and your puppy will do his deed no matter where he is.

Shower Your Yorkie with Praise

Once the magic happens, don’t forget to be extra excited and shower your pet with praise, belly rubs, and lots of treats. Positive reinforcement is the key to success with dogs. For those who are worried about calories, you can try smaller treats. Sometimes you can simply be super excited and give your Yorkie a longer belly rub as a reward.

Yorkie Potty Training Indoors

Yorkie Potty Training Indoors
Photo by Magda Ehlers from Pexels

For those who plan on doing indoor/outdoor training, the process is easier in some ways.

Pick a Pee Pad Location

Just like with potty training outdoors, pet owners need to pick a location for the training pads. It should also be in the same spot over the entire training period to avoid confusion.

It should also be a place that’s water-resistant like the bathroom just in case your dog has an accident. It also makes it easier to clean up using the enzyme cleaner if you don’t have to worry about damage to the floors.

We would suggest pet owners only choose one spot with one pee pad instead of giving their dog too many places to go potty.

Know When to Go

Take your dog for a potty break whenever he wakes up from a full night’s rest or from a nap. Don’t forget to give him time to relieve himself during playtime, after meals and drinking water, and before bedtime. Read your dog’s cues in order to know when to go. If your dog suddenly starts to sniff around, whine, and pace around frantically, then it’s time to go.

Bring your dog to the pee pad and use a verbal cue to let him know what to do. If the pee pad is soiled with urine, your dog will understand what you want him to do.

Reward Your Yorkie Handsomely

Reward your Yorkie after each successful potty attempt. Like with outdoor training, focus on positive reinforcement with treats, encouraging words, and pets.

Potty Training Your Yorkie Puppy at Night

Potty Training Your Yorkie Puppy at Night
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Potty training at might is another reason why we are advocates of puppy pads. When both you and your pup wake up at 3 am, chances are both of you are pretty groggy. The grogginess is also what may cause them to take a while to go, which can be pretty unpleasant in the brisk night air. To make matters worse, poor weather conditions will really put a damper on your day.

Having pee pads indoors makes it easy to train a Yorkie because you can avoid getting dressed and the bad weather. Otherwise, you have to take your dog outside once or twice a night depending on when they last went to the bathroom before bed.

A way around having to wake up twice is to push bedtime as late as possible. For example, if you help your 4-month old Yorkie to the bathroom at 11 or 12 am, you can then get up once at 3 am and then get up at 6 or 7 am, closer to regular hours for those who have 9-5 jobs. It is absolutely necessary to let your dog go at least once in the middle of the night.

This is even truer for people who are using crate training because your dog is not likely to soil where he sleeps, so he will definitely need a break in the middle of the night.

Potty Training Do’s and Don’ts

Potty Training Do's and Don'ts
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Before we close, we have some tips to help you start potty training on the right foot.

  • Always remain consistent in your schedule. Dogs thrive on a regimented routine and giving him set mealtimes and potty breaks will help him adapt quickly to potty training.
  • Be patient when you’re waiting for your dog to “go”. Know that it could take some time so be patient!
  • Please do NOT punish your pup by rubbing its nose in its mess. This is negative reinforcement that will create an unfavorable association with potty training, which is the last thing you want.
  • Consistency is key! Try not to switch things up too much such as the potty area, your code word and method.
  • Accidents happen and it’s okay. Just have your enzyme cleaner ready and learn from the mistake.
  • Do not forget to give your dog plenty of rewards. After all, your Yorkie deserves it!

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Yorkies hard to potty train?

Yorkies are not more difficult to potty train than any other breed. Yes, they can be stubborn sometimes and maybe have more accidents due to smaller bladders, but that just means accidents are more likely, and not that your Yorkie doesn’t understand potty training.

How do I stop my Yorkie from peeing in the house?

Consistent potty training is what will stop your Yorkie from peeing in the house. If you are having a problem with male Yorkies marking, getting them neutered is our best recommendation.

Neutering your male dog will also help to prevent certain cancers and health issues down the line. Male Yorkies that were brought up on training pads will most likely continue to squat when going in the house even as an adult dog.

How often should I take my Yorkie out to potty?

When you potty train a Yorkie, identifying when to take them out to potty is essential. Aside from the crucial moments, which are after waking up, after or during playtime, after meals and water breaks, and before bed, you also have to make sure they have gone out consistently according to how long they can hold it.

Let’s say your 3-month old Yorkie had a lazier day indoors due to a storm outside and he has been lazing on the couch and not really wanting to play.

The last time he ate was at 12. You have to remember they can only hold it for however old they are and sometimes plus 1 for those who can really hold it, so you have to make time to take him.


Regardless of how pet owners decide to train a Yorkie during potty training, being consistent and taking them to the same location every time, using the same keyword, and lots and lots of praise, rewards, consistency, and patience will go a long way.

Don’t be discouraged if your Yorkie doesn’t do it within your perceived timeframe. Know that your dog will get it eventually, so in the meantime, just keep at it!c

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